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TrekToday - Richard Arnold: Scotty Will Be Born In Aberdeen

Richard Arnold: Scotty Will Be Born In Aberdeen

By Christian
August 8, 2005 - 11:03 AM

Gene Roddenberry's been dead for over a decade, and there's no longer any new Trek being produced that could have settled the matter -- but thankfully, there's always still Richard Arnold.

Arnold, former assistant to Roddenberry and currently still touring the convention circuit as a Star Trek historian and archivist, spoke to Brittain's Sunday Times this weekend to rule on the all-important matter of the future birthplace of Montgomery Scott. Arnold said that the only official reference to the location of Scotty's cradle comes from the Original Series episode "Wolf In The Fold," in which Scotty described himself as an "old Aberdeen pub crawler."

Arnold's statements were backed up by Professor Edward Sofranko, a psychologist who teaches a course on Star Trek at the University of Rio Grande in Ohio. "The winning city would be Aberdeen," Sofranko said, after embarking on an extensive research mission through past Trek episode, as well as James Doohan's autobiography. "We certainly have several sources that give us a convergence of evidence that Scotty was from Aberdeen," Sofrank said -- but then went on to possibly invalidate himself in the eyes of real Trek purists by also referring to the (non-canon!) novelization of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.

Although it still will be at least two centuries before Scotty can be expected to be born, the matter of his future birthplace has proven to be a topic of some contention in Scotland. As recently reported, four Scottish towns have all staked claim to the title, presumably in the hope of attracting their share of world Trek tourism. The shining example for these cities is the Iowan town of Riverside, which claims that James T. Kirk will be born there two centuries from now, and has been able to bank on this claim by organising a successful yearly Trek convention.

Besides Arnold and Sofranko, further experts confirmed the Aberdonian claim, including Roddenberry biographer David Alexander, and Scottish linguist Sheena Blackhall. And in the court of public opinion, Aberdeen seems to be winning too, with the city currently leading by a four-vote margin in this week's TrekToday poll asking fans to help decide the matter.

Aberdeen city councillor Pamela MacDonald was pleased with the findings, saying she was going to try to erect a statue or place a plaque somewhere in the city. But Willie Dunn, a representative of the town of Linlithgow, was determined not to give up Scotty without a fight. "Scotty may well have grown up to be an Aberdeen pub crawler, but we remain convinced that he was born in Linlithgow, as stated in the Star Trek novel 'Vulcans Glory,'" he said. "We are going to go boldly forward with our plans to erect a tasteful memorial to Scotty and the actor James Doohan. Star Trek has really put Linlithgow on the map."

For many fans, even those used to dressing up in full Klingon regalia for Trek conventions the fight over Scotty's future birthplace may seem extremely silly. But Roddenberry biographer David Alexander told the Times that the Great Bird of the Galaxy himself would have probably enjoyed the controversy. "I am absolutely certain that Gene would have had a great laugh over several cities fighting over the right to claim the future birth of one of his characters. He probably would have chosen the city with the best Scotch and would have had a great time deciding."

For the original Times article, please follow this link.

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